Monday, April 16, 2012
I ran my fifth half marathon on Saturday. It did not go well and I just took it for what it was. I was not going into it under ideal conditions. I've had worse races and I've had better races. I did what I could and was glad to cross the finish line and get a medal.
I had these factors stacked against me:
-lack of training due to a surprise high risk pregnancy and miscarriage just two weeks before the race
-stomach problems and long bathroom lines...before the race even started
-muscle soreness from going to my first kickboxing session in 6 months just days before the race
-recent weight gain
-the weather was not ideal (not a biggie though)
Josh and I had planned to travel Friday night and stay at our friend's house near the race. However, due to storms we decided to wait for a better travel time so we ended up staying at my house and getting up at 3:30 AM to travel two hours, meet up with my friend, and drive another hour to the race. We got up and in the car, blasted some music, and were PUMPED. Two hours in the car later, spirits had gone down and the excitement had worn off.
We got to the race about half an hour early and hiked about half a mile down a hill, knowing that we'd have to hike back up it after the half. We were kind of in a panic because Anna lost her timing chip and we had to search the car. In the end, it had fallen out of her envelope at home. She went one way to see if they'd give her another, Josh went another way to line up at the back of the race. I went to stand at the end of the bathroom line...a good 50-75 people deep. By the time I was halfway through the line, I realized I was not going to make the start. But I also knew I could not run one step without going first. Not a good sign.
My best HM time is 2:17. My worst is 2:51. I'd intended to line up with a pace group somewhere in the middle of those times and hope for the best but I missed the pace groups. So I spent the first mile trying to catch my desired group. I eventually caught up to the 2:45 and settled there for a while. I first noticed that my muscles were screaming only 1-2 miles in, thanks to kickboxing. Every step hurt. Normally, I have stretches where things go really smoothly. I never really hit my stride in this race and I was a bit sad about that. I love when it feels good. I just accepted that this would not be one of those times. I did get a little ahead of the 2:45 and paced with the 2:40 and then the 2:35.
I stopped at the second bathroom on course and stood in another long line, wasting a good 7-10 minutes. I saw my friend Anna run by while I was in line. After I got out, I tried really hard to catch her but never recovered enough to push that hard. I was hoping we could finish the race together. I also lost my pace group.
Around the mid point, I started walking more than I was running. I told myself that running the first half and walking the second was better than walking the whole thing. And that walking the whole thing was better than not doing it at all. So therefore, I was doing pretty good. I imitated the speedwalkers I saw on course and had a lot of fun with that for a while. The last half was mostly downhill and that was helpful. I got a bit of a second wind around mile 11 from knowing I was that close to the finish, and took up running again in stretches.
I crossed the finish line at 2:50, beating my worst time by just one minute. I was simply happy to come in under 3 hours. Anna finished 8 minutes before me and we waited together for Josh to finish. He last texted me from mile 10. I asked for an update and he told me that he had no idea where he was because they'd already taken the signs down. I thought that was really sad that they would do that. I know they had to close the course, but I wish they'd at least have left the mile markers up. I asked at the finish line if they would continue to hand out medals, as there were many people still finishing past the official time limit. (They closed this one at 3:30). Luckily, they still handed out medals. I knew Josh really wanted one so I was going to steal or buy one if they stopped at 3:30.
I have to say, it was a lot of fun waiting at the finish. I cheered on those who finished after me and it was really inspiring to see these people who worked so hard for it cross the finish line. I had walked back down the course enough to know that they were having to run on the grass alongside the busy road. No sidewalks, rough terrain. And of course they had no idea where they were either, or how far they had left to run. They just had to trust that there was a finish at the end and push through it. I was really, really inspired by their effort.
I'm not sure when Josh finished, but I was proud when he did. I thought about running back to find him and finish with him, but I did not want to steal his moment.
I'm a little sore today, but not bad. I was more sore after kickboxing last week. We do this whole thing again in only a few days (Sunday). So bring on half marathon #6! May this one go much better than #5!